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Today's Belize News: March 14, 2020 #541039
03/14/20 07:04 AM
03/14/20 07:04 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 65,854
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP


FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, Reef TV, KREM, and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Belize Now, Talk Ah Di Town, and other specials.


The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro Invaders fall short against Verdes Rebels
The National Amateur Women’s Tournament (NAWT) came to San Pedro Town on Saturday, March 7th, hosting a football match between San Pedro Invaders and Verdes Rebels of Cayo District. The visiting squad dominated most of the game, and although the Invaders tried their best, at the end they fell short, 3-2.

NEMO Belize Rural South producing COVID-19 preparedness signs in San Pedro Town
In response to the increase of COVID-19 cases within the Caribbean region, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) branch in Ambergris Caye has produced a number of laminated preparedness signs to be distributed all over the island. The signs will be delivered within the week to restaurants, bars, coffee shops, hoteliers, gyms, and grocery stores on the island by a NEMO team member. All printing was provided courtesy of The San Pedro Town Council.

Stop order issued against development at Cayo Rosario
A formal stop order has reportedly been issued to halt development activities at Cayo Rosario, following a site inspection by members of the Physical Planning Unit at the Ministry of Natural Resources on Friday, March 6th. Island residents, particularly those in the fly fishing industry, welcome this latest update, which is seen as a protection of the sensitive marine environment near the tiny island that sits within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve on the north-west coast of Ambergris Caye.

Preliminary Report on BDF helicopter crash lists weather and poor judgment as probable causes
The preliminary report on the tragic Belize Defence Force (BDF) helicopter crash that killed four airmen, Majors Adran Ramirez, and Radford Baizer, along with crew members, Corporals Reynaldo Choco and Yassir Mendez, was revealed on Tuesday, March 10th by the Ministry of National Security. It indicated that one of the probable causes of the accident is the human factor, as the mission was carried out in hours of limited visibility and without navigation equipment. The report, which was prepared by the Honduran Armed Forces, adds that the flight was done over the water and in adverse conditions. The report’s analysis includes that one of the pilots was making/receiving reports via a cell phone, which may have led to spatial disorientation in the flight crew.

Eight additional constables join the San Pedro Police Formation
Eight newly trained police constables (PC) officially joined the San Pedro Police Formation on Tuesday, March 10th. The police officers, two females, and six males, recently passed out as part of Recruit Squad #94 on Saturday, March 7th, from the National Police Training Academy at the Capital City of Belmopan. The new police constables, who hail from different parts of the country like Toledo, Stann Creek, and Cayo Districts, to name a few, include PC #1423 Horace Avila, PC #1798 Kadeem Flores, PC #104 Silvino Che, PC #136 Christian Cohuo, PC #2383 Elian Robateau, WPC #2392 Patricia Spain, WPC #773 Jennifer Sam, and PC #1362 Nedwill Vidal.

Ambergris Today

Belize Chamber Of Commerce Calls On Businesses To Refrain From Increasing Prices
The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) calls on the business community to refrain from effecting any price increases on essential supplies during this period of time when the entire global economy is faced with the COVID-19 threat, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified as a worldwide pandemic. There have been multiple price increases on essential commodities such as hand sanitizers, masks, and disinfectants to name a few. The Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) has indicated that to date no such official complaint has been brought to its attention, however, the BCCi takes this opportunity to appeal to the business community to avoid any such reaction.

Various Belizean Sources

mzz

Sarteneja Easter REgatta
All roads lead to Sarteneja on Saturday, April 11th and Sunday, April 12th for the upcoming Easter Festivities. Pre-flyer.

On Coronavirus for our Yucatec Maya people in Belize
Stay safe. Kanantabaa

National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) Games this Weekend Will be Played
The National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) will continue its scheduled games for this weekend under much caution. We remain in tune to all official press releases from the Government of Belize and Ministry of Health regarding COVID-19. All arenas will ensure that sanitizing products are available for the fans who attend the games as the league continues to pray for a safe Belize.

Ahmadiyya Basketball League Belize Postpones Games
For a while now we have been very closely following the issue of the Corona virus (Covid-19). We also listened to the press conference held today by the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health. After careful consideration, we have decided to temporarily postpone the league until further notice. This will also include the All-star game, which was scheduled for next weekend, March 22, 2020. We made this decision as a precaution to safeguard the health of the several hundred participants, supporters and organizers who attend the league. It may seem like a drastic move, but we believe that prevention is the best approach. We were also contacted by several players, coaches and parents who expressed their concern.

FFB Postpones Male National 'A' Team training
The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) has postponed its Male National 'A' Team training scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of next week 16 & 17' March 2020, until further notice. This comes as a result of FIFA and Concacaf putting all activities on hold. The International match El Salvador vs Belize has also been postponed due to the pandemic Covid-19 which is presently affecting our region.

New Book: "History of Tourism in San Pedro" by Guillermo Paz
San Pedro, Save the Date! 29th March 2020 get your copy of the "History of Tourism in San Pedro" by Guillermo Paz. Tour Guides, Business Owners, Hoteliers, Schools, everyone should come and get this valuable resource in their collection.

Postponement of Cruise Line Service to Belize as Precautionary Measure amid COVID-19
The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation has confirmed that as a part of the attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Ministry has received notification that Norwegian Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines are suspending global services for 30 days. It is expected that other cruise line companies that also call to Belize will be following this growing trend. The decision of suspension of cruise services was made to prevent the spread of the virus to unaffected populations, countries, and crews.

Ministry of Health Advisory No. 9 – Update on COVID-19
The Ministry of Health has completed another review of the COVID-19 plan with the different regional management teams and the Chief Executive Officer of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Authority. This is all part of the final preparations to strengthen and improve the Ministry’s COVID-19 response. This activity has become more important since COVID-19 has been confirmed in three surrounding neighbors - Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico - bringing it closer to home. The Ministry is also following persons who are now in self-isolation given their recent travel history. However, as of today, Belize has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the Ministry continues to monitor any potential case, especially those that are coming from countries where there is ongoing community spread.

Ministry of Natural Resources to Lead Inspection Team to Resolve Valley of Peace Land Dispute
Today, March 13th, 2020, the Valley of Peace Farmers Association accompanied by the Chairman of Valley of Peace and representatives from the Valley of Peace Farms Ltd. met with personnel from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture to discuss a longstanding land dispute over farmland in the Valley of Peace community. All parties agreed that the Ministry would lead an inspection team to determine the current state on the ground and establish the various claims. The parties further agreed to suspend any further development on the land in question and to meet to determine the best way forward in resolving this impasse after the verification exercise.

Schools Remain Open
The Ministry of Education informs the general public that as of today Friday 13th, March 2020, ALL schools remain open. At this point, the Ministry of Education continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF and other key partners to actively monitor the development of the novel COVID 19. The Ministry has been focusing on prevention by reinforcing good hygiene which includes creating awareness on the importance of handwashing in schools as well as encouraging the frequency of custodial cleaning at school sites and central offices.

A MESSAGE FROM THE MAYOR OF SAN PEDRO TOWN AND THE SAN PEDRO TOWN COUNCIL
Mayor Daniel Guerrero and Councilors of the San Pedro Town Council would like to inform the general public that they are working together with Hon. Manuel Heredia and the NEMO team, which is working on the advice of the Ministry of Health, in organizing methods and tactics in preparation for the COVID-19 virus. Altogether, we advise everyone to remain calm and practice proper hygiene regularly. Parents, we ask you to inform your children and educate them on keeping clean in school and to wash their hands regularly, especially after using the restroom and in between breaks.

Press Release from the BPD: Spreading of False Rumours
The Belize Police Department note with great concern, the number of false rumours going around regarding COVID-19 in Belize. This is despite the fact that the Ministry of Health which is the authorized agency to confirm the presence of such virus in Belize has not confirmed any such case. Some people are using the social media platform to spread such rumours; therefore, creating a sense of fear and panic in our citizenry. It is with this, that we are asking all to refrain from the spreading of such rumour, until or unless the Ministry of Health has confirmed the presence of any such case in Belize. To do otherwise is an offence.

Caye Caulker Village Council: Sanitize Hands Before Boarding Vessels
In preparation of the impending threat of the corona virus, we are asking all port of entries whether by air or land to Caye Caulker to please have everyone sanitize their hands before boarding the vessel and before landing on Caye Caulker. This is the first phase in being proactive. The second phase will be implemented early next week. We also ask all the grocery stores to immediately REFRAIN from price gouging, if not you will be reported to Bureau of Standards and will be taken note of for upcoming renewal.

BTB Scholarship Opportunities for 2020
The Belize Tourism Board is now offering scholarship opportunities to interested applicants for Tourism Programs commencing August 2020 for Full-time Students.

ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENT IN RANCHITO
A road traffic accident has been reported on the Philip Goldson Highway between a car and a motorcycle. Corozal Police Department has cordoned off a section of the highway just after the Ranchito Football Field and the Community Center. All traffic has been diverted through Xaibe Village on both sides of the highway. The injured driver of the motorcycle has been transported to the hospital.

The NEBL is postponing games this weekend
All NEBL games have been postponed. The league prioritizes the health concerns of all stakeholders.

Belize Water Services Public Notice
As a part of preparations and preventative measures regarding COVID-19, BWS encourages customers to utilize telephone and electronic means of contact to conduct business and to utilize online banking to make payments. Customers are encouraged to utilize their commercial bank to make online payment to BWS. Those who have not already done so, should contact their bank for setting up the online payment option.

The 3rd Belize National Research Conference has been Postponed
The Belize National Research Conference Organizing Committee hereby informs the public that the Conference originally scheduled for March 25th and 26th 2020 has been postponed indefinitely. As you know, the research conference includes a number of foreign and Belizean researchers as well as Belizean students and attendees from the public. Therefore, this decision was made to support the general well-being of all concerned parties. The organizers will continue to monitor the local conditions with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and will announce a new date once the global situation improves.

Channel 7

Cruise Industry Armageddon?
We didn't want to do it, so they did it for us.  Tonight, all three major cruise lines, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian have suspended operations for 30 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
US President Donald Trump said in a Tweet this evening that they did so at his request. A release from the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation confirmed that the cruise lines are suspending global services for 30 days.  The release adds, quote, "the decision of suspension of cruise services was made to prevent the spread of the virus to unaffected populations,  countries, and crews." End quote.

Leisure in A Time Of Corona
So with cruise tourism shut down, now, the country's most earnest hopes turn to overnight tourism as a life support system, both for the thousands of employees of that sector and for the economy, which depends on the hard currency earnings. So far, flights keep coming in - and that is the only very faint silver lining on a looming black could that's about to cover Belize's number one foreign exchange earner.   We went to the airport today where arriving tourists were practical about the situation and doing Sherri best not to panic: This was the scene at the Philip Goldson International airport today as visitors streamed out of the arrivals lounge. Some of them were well prepared with industrial grade masks. We asked some travellers and tourist industry workers how the global pandemic is affecting them.

Number of Cancellations Climb
Indeed, the prognosis is dire for the airline operations and for hotel bookings.  Yesterday, the Prime Minister shared the bad news about rapid hotel cancellations: Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow- Prime Minister: "Regarding the cancellations that the hotels are already experiencing, 33% of all hotel bookings in this country is done through Expedia. Just today Expedia told the BTB that they are seeing a 35% cancellation for Belize hotels. That is a big enough sample to give an indication of the kind of impact that this thing is already having. That's why I said we were in no rush to talk about cancellation of flights. Already the industry is taking a pounding. If this continues, as I've said, there will be no need to cancel flights because nobody will be coming."

The Call That The Guat President Never Wanted To Receive
But while the prognosis is grim, for the time being, Belize still has no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.  But not so for our neighbors.  Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico have now all confirmed cases of Covid-19.  Guatemala's first case was confirmed this afternoon by president Alejandro Giammattei who received the news via cell phone during a press conference in Guatemala City.  He said to the gathering, "It is the call that I would never have wanted to receive," end quote.

Report: No-Go ADO
And, according to CTV-3 in Orange Walk, authorities at the Northern border didn't even wait for that quarantine order before sending back an ADO bus.  The news station reports that the bus travelling from Mexico to Belize City was prohibited entry through the northern border this morning after officials found out that one of the passengers, reportedly a Japanese national, presented flu like symptoms.  Reportedly, Police escorted the bus back to the Chactemal bridge for return to Mexico's border.

Chamber Scolds Business For Price Gouging
The fear of the Corona Virus - or COVID-19 - as it is also known has caused residents in countries with confirmed cases to flock to grocery stores to clean out the shelves of sanitary products to protect themselves against COVID-19. Here in Belize, we've already told you how the prices of hand sanitizer, lotion and other antiseptics like alcohol are skyrocketing. 

Municipal Governments Threaten to Revoke Trade Licenses for Price Gougers
The Belize Mayors' Association is also expressing concern at the price gouging  - but they are doing something about it - they're making trade license threats!  Mayors in Punta Gorda and Orange Walk are threatening - via Facebook - to rescind trade licenses of those stores who are price gouging on essential sanitary products..."

Protest And Discord in Valley Of Peace
And while the nation's attention is gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, in Valley of Peace this morning, that was far from anyone's contemplation.  Farmers were locked in a dispute about that most precious resource: land.  They are locked in a deep conflict with an American owned, large scale grain farming outfit called Valley of Peace Farms which has title for 11,273 acres of farm land.  But within those thousands of acres are 1,115 acres which more than 50 farmers say they have leases for.  Additionally, they say they have been working those lands for 20 years or more.  

Re-Districting Case Slightly Stalls
After a week-long adjournment, the redistricting lawsuit resumed today before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin with a case management conference.
As viewers will remember, Andrew Marshalleck, the attorney for Lord Michael Ashcroft, asked the court for more time to prepare their documents for their expert witnesses. Ashcroft, who is the only interested party, in this case, has asserted to the judge that he can provide experts to aid the court's understanding of the issue. The claimants, who are either members or allies of the Belize Peace movement, are trying to trigger a redistricting of all those constituencies before the next general elections are held.  Due to the way these constituencies are currently configured, votes from the small divisions carry a lot more weight than votes from in a larger constituency.

Peace Movement Pillories Peyrefitte
In other news related to the Belize Peace Movement, they say that they've been waiting weeks for any kind of response to a letter they sent to the Attorney General's Office. They want to play a part in Belize's implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. They have written to the AG to offer its advice and expertise on the topic, but they say that the Attorney General has ignored them.  Of course, as viewers are aware, the government is already consulting the civil society organizations which make up the social partners. So, does the government have all the help it already needs? That's what we put to Paco Smith this morning, and here are his comments in response:

CG shot in PG
A Coast Guard officer from Punta Gorda Town was shot last night. The victim has been identified as 26-year-old Collin Ramirez, a resident of Santino Street in PG. Ramirez told police that at around 10:30 p.m., he was upstairs of Lions Den Bar, which was closed. He went downstairs to relieve himself, and that's when he heard the loud sound of 2 gunshots being fired near him.

Stevedores Keep The Fire Burning
On March 6th Stevedores served the Port of Belize Limited a 21-day notice to return to industrial action if the negotiations do not proceed as expected.  There are 13 days left in that notice and today Stevedores hosted a solidarity rally outside the Port.  It's a spot which has become their ground zero because while they dutifully honor the prescribed 21 days they are keeping the port on notice with their continued presence.   We stopped by the rally around noon and spoke to Foreman Windfield Dennison, a second-generation Stevedore who has been in the profession for 31 years. 

Ombudsman Says Police Complaints Declined
Ombudsman, Lionel Arzu, has released his annual report for the period January 1s, 2019 to December 31st, 2019. In his overview, he says that his office has recorded 102 new complaints of corruption, wrongdoing, injustice, injury or abuse that was lodged during those last 12 months. The majority of the cases were made against the police department, which is similar to previous years. His numbers indicate, however, that 2019 had the lowest number of complaints against police in the last 7 years. 37 new complaints were lodged against police last year.

Alleged Facebook Fraudster Charged
20-year-old Tayvon Castillo, a resident of Raccoon Street in Belize City, is out on bail tonight after being taken to court for obtaining property by deception - and it all happened on Facebook.
24-year-old Dagoberto Henriquez reported to the police that he contacted Castillo on Facebook. He says Castillo went by the name, Assad P. Lloyd, and he was supposedly a car dealer with vehicles to rent or sell. Henriquez said that Castillo said that he had a 2011 Chevy Equinox for sale at a total cost of $18,000. Castillo reportedly told him that all he needed to do was to make a downpayment of $2,000, and additional monthly payments of $500 until Henriquez completely paid for the vehicle.

Corona Is Coming, How to Prepare
This morning, the Ministry of Health held a media breakfast.  It's part of a continued engagement with the press in the effort to bring reliable, timely and accurate information to the public.  Because, let's face it, rumours are running WILD right about now.  The session lasted two and a half hours and covered key areas such as how the first confirmed case will be announced, preventative measures for the disease, and whether your should visit elderly loved ones at this time.   Public Information Officer for the Ministry Claudette Norales shared a how  - to survival guide for COVID-19:.. Claudette Dakers Noralez- Information Officer Ministry of Health: "For the Belize Context, COVID19 is a part of a line of flues. We have had situations in the past with zika, which chikungunya, we still have the situation with dengue, as we speak we still have cases for now..."

COVID-19, It's Complicated
And, so while that is a survival guide, for the stevedores already marching and ready to strike for survival, COVID 19 is a complication.  CWU President Mose Hyde explained why:

COVID Is Coming Or Is It Already Here?
And while we're all facing the grim spectre of a coming Coronavirus, the truth is, it may already be here. Yes, indeed. While visitors and citizens returning to the country are screened for flu like symptoms, the fact is that COVID-19 can incubate for two weeks without an infected persons showing symptoms. Yesterday, we asked the Prime Minister about the possibility, even the likelihood that COVID-19 is already in Belize, it's just that the symptoms may not have appeared yet:

GOB Will Make More Money Available
We also asked the Prime Minister about funds for responding to the Coronavirus.  Initially government had earmarked $900,000 at the request of the Ministry of Health.  But, the budget for response will soar well above that.  The PM said yesterday thatchy will have to find the money:.. Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister: "We are perfectly prepared to make supplementary allocations to try to cover all corona related needs. The original ask from the Ministry was for slightly less than a million dollars. We understand that is, as it were, the first tranche. Whatever it takes, within obvious limits..."


Re: Today's Belize News: March 14, 2020 [Re: Marty] #541040
03/14/20 07:04 AM
03/14/20 07:04 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 65,854
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

.
Marty  Offline OP

Channel 5

Cruise Line Service to Belize Suspended Amid COVID-19
The threat of the coronavirus hovers over Belize as we start the weekend. But tonight the Ministry of Health confirms there are no cases of the virus here, but its [...]

Tourism Stakeholders Concerned About Wellbeing of Employees
The economic impact of suspension of cruise arrivals compounded by hotel cancellations, will undoubtedly affect revenue generation within the tourism industry.  Of equal concern to the Belize Hotels Association is [...]

COVID-19 Causes Cancellations
But aside from the cruise ships and hotel cancellations, there are other movements to note. NICH is cancelling a research conference which was scheduled for later this month that would [...]

Price Gouging Amid Coronavirus Threat
As we said, Belize is yet to record its first case of coronavirus and while many are preparing for its advent on our shores, there are some business owners who [...]

How prepared are residents for COVID-19?
The first detection of the coronavirus took place in December 2019 in Wuhan China. In less than three months, it has spread across the globe, infecting thousands of persons and [...]

Still NO Cases of COVID-19 in Belize; Ministry of Health Prepares for the Inevitable
As the situation continues to evolve and the coronavirus inches closer to Belize, the Ministry of health today revealed its strategy on how it will communicate with the public when [...]

N.T.U.C.B. Takes its Seat on COVID-19 Taskforce
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize, as a social partner, has a seat on the COVID-19 Taskforce, which has been established by government.  Prime Minister Barrow, at a press [...]

Where Do We Isolate the Infirmed?
In recent days, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Union has complained that the isolation ward at the K.H.M.H. is not an adequate space and that health personnel are at risk.  [...]

Another Delay in Redistricting Case
The parties in the redistricting case before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin have reviewed the affidavits of the expert witnesses that are to be brought forward by interested party in the [...]

When Can Soldiers Use their Discretion While on the Job?
This week we’ve been reporting on the preliminary report coming out of the investigation into the helicopter accident that killed four B.D.F. soldiers. That report was prepared by the Honduran [...]

N.T.U.C.B. Stands in Solidarity with Waterfront Workers
A week ago, stevedores gave the required twenty-one-day notice of strike action at the Port of Belize. While they have returned to work, today, they held a rally and were [...]

Closing Arguments for U.S. Gov’t Case Against Lev Dermen
Closing arguments were heard earlier this weekend in the U.S. case against Lev Aslan Dermen.  He stands accused of defrauding the U.S. government of more than one billion dollars in [...]

Maskall Mechanic Back in Court for Harm
A mechanic of Maskall Village was escorted before Magistrate Aretha Ford this afternoon to face a charge of harm upon Sherlette Arnold.  The incident allegedly happened on March eleventh in [...]

A Man & Two Minors Denied Bail for Robbery
A man and two minors were denied bail this afternoon when they appeared before Magistrate Aretha Ford on a charge of robbery. Twenty-year-old Kenroy Daly, a resident of Sarstoon Street [...]

Tayvon Castillo Goes Before the Courts Again for Obtaining Property by Deception
Twenty-year-old Tayvon Castillo today found himself before the courts, charged with Obtaining Property by Deception, for allegedly collecting money for a vehicle that he never delivered to its buyer. Castillo [...]

A Second Attempt by Jeremy Bermudez to Get Bail
A special constable who is charged with eight counts of Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with a Minor today made his second appearance before a Supreme Court Judge to seek bail while [...]

Valley of Peace Farmers Take Drastic Measures
A land issue has been festering for some time in the Valley of peace, Cayo District. Farmers have complained that the land they have worked for years has been sold [...]

Coastguard Shot in PG
A coastguard officer was shot in Punta Gorda on Thursday night while socializing at an establishment.  Twenty-eight-year-old Collin Ramirez reported to police that while at Xions Den Bar which at [...]

Mario Soto Wanted for Murder of James Slemp
A wanted poster has been issued for Guatemalan farmer Mario Soto by the Belize Police Department. Soto is accused of brutally murdering seventy-nine-year-old Canadian national James Slemp. Slemp was found dead [...]

Y.W.C.A. Hosts Annual Open House
The Y.W.C.A. is celebrating sixty-four years in Belize this month. The Belize Chapter of the Y offers instructional and training programmes that promote education, income generation for women and girls, [...]

Created for Success – Nazarene High Hosts its Biennial Expo
The compound of the Nazarene High School was buzzing with activity today as students participated in an expo to show off their knowledge and skills. While some students chose to [...]

Amandala

Belize prepares for coronavirus
In the wake of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration yesterday that the respiratory disease known as coronavirus (COVID-19) is a pandemic, the Government of Belize held a press briefing this afternoon to outline its plans to combat the disease if or when it arrives in Belize. Seated at the head table along with Prime Minister Dean Barrow were Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin; the Director of Health Services (DHS), Dr. Marvin Manzanero; and Dr. Russell Manzanero, epidemiologist. Prime Minister Barrow began his presentation by stressing that there is no confirmed case of COVID-19 in Belize.

BDF helicopter crash was due to “pilot error”
The Ministry of National Security held a press briefing at the Belize Coast Guard Headquarters, where a preliminary report into the Belize Defence Force (BDF) helicopter crash on February 27 in which 4 soldiers died, was presented this afternoon by the Attorney General and Minister of Defence, Hon. Michael Peyrefitte. Peyrefitte was joined at the head table by other senior members of the National Security Ministry, including Coast Guard Commander, Elton Bennett, who is one of the investigators of the accident; Chief of Defence Staff Admiral John Borland, Deputy Commissioner of Police Edward Broaster and BDF Brigadier General Steven Ortega.

CWU rally against PBL scheduled for tomorrow, Friday
Eleven days ago, the Christian Workers Union (CWU) and the stevedores it represents at the Port of Belize Limited, began protest action to force the management of the PBL to the negotiating table. Last week Thursday, the CWU served the PBL with a notice for strike action if their demands were not met. In order to bolster those demands, the stevedores have embarked upon a 21-day vigil at the PBL compound as they count down the 21 days when they will institute strike action against the management of PBL if their demands are not met through negotiations.

Body of woman, 63, found on Lake Garden roadside
Around 7:00 a.m. today, a passerby on a dirt road in the Lake Gardens area of Ladyville came upon a gruesome sight — the body of a middle-aged woman who was semi-nude, near an illegal dump site. Her body was discovered lying face-down with what appeared to be a cut wound to her upper body. The passerby called police and the work of identifying the woman got underway in earnest.

KHMH Workers Union up in arms over COVID-19 isolation ward
Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic. The respiratory disease is now in more than 100 countries, and more than 4,000 persons have died from it. WHO urged countries to step up their preventative measures. In Belize, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), the national referral hospital, has decided to construct a COVID-19 isolation ward on its compound. That decision has angered the KHMH Workers Union, who came out swinging against the decision today, telling the media that the KHMH administration is taking a big risk by making such a decision, because it is only a matter of time before COVID-19 hits the shores of Belize.

Two shot on CA Boulevard — 1 dead, 1 serious
Two men were shot while standing in front of Tammy’s Shop on Central American Boulevard at about 8:00 tonight. Devon Arnold, 24, a laborer of Arlington Drive, was shot in the head and died shortly after his arrival at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, while his friend, Wayne Pratt, was shot in the shoulder. He was admitted in a serious condition. Reliable information is that while the two men were standing in front of Tammy’s Shop, two armed men came from Matura Street, a nearby side street.

PBL and CWU sign memorandum of understanding, ending “protest action”
On the first work day of the week, a 15-member gang of stevedores at the Port of Belize Limited (PBL) walked away from the pier head, refusing to off-load a container ship. That was the beginning of what would turn out to be a week of protest at the PBL worksite. The stevedores were supported by the PBL office staff, who have been working without a Collective Bargaining Agreement for years. Before the day was over, the stevedores and the Christian Workers Union (CWU) were up in arms against the PBL management, which was forced to the bargaining table.

Redistricting case management adjourned so that Ashcroft’s witnesses can provide expert evidence
The case management for the case regarding redistricting was scheduled to get underway today before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, but the attorney for Lord Michael Ashcroft, Andrew Marshalleck, S.C., requested an adjournment in order to get affidavits from the expert witnesses they will be relying on. Lord Ashcroft was allowed to join the case as an interested party. Chief Justice Benjamin agreed to the request for more time and adjourned the case management to next Friday, March 13.

Construction worker arraigned for Michael Barrera’s murder
Alden Lara, 20, a construction worker of 196 Antelope Street Extension, was charged with the murder of Michael Barrera, 52, when he appeared today before Magistrate Khadeem Palmer. She explained to him that she would not take a plea from him because the offence is indictable. She also explained to Lara that she could not offer him bail because of the nature of the offence. She remanded him until June 2.

Editorial: A survival budget with even less crumbs for the poor
The United Democratic Party (UDP) has controlled government for over 12 years, and on Thursday, March 5, the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, who has been the leader of government during his party’s three terms of office, made his last budget presentation to the nation. As we have become accustomed to in the last 12 years, the budget presentation was a platform for the Prime Minister to berate/blame the past administration for almost everything that is wrong in our country, and talk about how much his administration cares about/has done to uplift the marginalized in our country, when it doesn’t/hasn’t.

PUP City Council highlights fiscal prudence
The Belize City Council called a press briefing this morning to unveil an audit report in advance of its Initial Public Offering (IPO) of its Municipal Paper Series 1, which will be officially released on Monday. Belize City mayor, Bernard Wagner, presented the media with a slide presentation of the findings of the audit that was conducted by Cedric Flowers. The audit report covered the period ending March 31, 2018, during which the United Democratic Party (UDP) mayor Darrell Bradley was in office, and the period ending March 31, 2019, which was the People’s United Party (PUP) City Council’s first full year at City Hall.

Belize High School of Agriculture visits Amandala
Yesterday afternoon, a group of students from the Belize High School of Agriculture in San Lazaro, Orange Walk District, established in 1984, visited Amandala for the first time. The 63 students were shown how the Amandala newspaper was produced, beginning with work done by the reporters, and ending with the printing of the newspaper on our press.

Jim Murphy (1927-2020)
Funeral services were held this morning at Holy Redeemer Cathedral in Belize City for James Matthew Dinnachie “Jim” Murphy, a long-time resident of Southern Foreshore who passed at the age of 92. He was born on November 9, 1927, and died on March 3, 2020. The Celebrant was Fr. Brian Christopher, S.J., with former Bishop, Most Rev. Dorick Wright, present in the Sanctuary.

All 4 soldiers laid to rest with honor – they served their country well
Funeral services were held on Friday for Major Radford Baizar, 35, an elite helicopter instructor and an aircraft captain in the Air Wing of the Belize Defence Force, who was the father of two children. He was one of four crew members who were in a BDF helicopter that was involved in a drug operation last Wednesday in support of police. The helicopter crashed into the lagoon near Gales Point, Manatee, killing all four crew members — Major Adran Ramirez of Corozal Town; Major Radford Baizar of Belize City; Corporal Yassir Mendez of Douglas, Orange Walk District; and Corporal Reynaldo Choco of Big Falls, Toledo.

Let My People Go! – HARRIET!
The powerfully eclectic baritone of the renowned African-American artist Paul Robeson played a sad and eerie classic, “Go Down Moses”, on my car stereo while driving towards the movie theater to see the newly released film “Harriet”. Since the film’s debut in movie theaters across the United States, there has been a deep sense of consciousness that bothered me to go and see it. But it took me some nerve to actually pull myself together and face again another reflection about the horrors of American slavery.

Baron Bliss Weekend Billiards Tournament – Immer Lima and Luis Valdes champs!!!
Mr. Marvin Cardona organized and sponsored a massive 2-man team Billiards tournament in collaboration with the Belize Billiards Sports Federation (BBSF) on March 07 and 08 at the classy Luxy Sports Bar in Belize City. This tournament had participants from Belize, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. Games played in this tournament were: 9-ball in the winners bracket to start off, 10-ball in the losers bracket, and in the semi-finals and finals it was 8-ball. Here are the results:

Louisiana Gov’t girls and Wesley Upper boys are 2020 National Primary School Basketball Champions
Coordinated by the National Sports Council (NSC), the National Primary School Basketball Championship tournament was held on Friday, March 6, at Mexico Sports Center in Belize City, where 3 regional/district champions in the female and male categories participated in a round-robin first round, with the top two teams then clashing for the championship.

Week 2 results & standings in National Amateur Women’s League
Women’s football is on a roll in Belize, as six Week 2 games, 4 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday, were played over the weekend in the National Amateur Women’s League (NAWL) 2019-2020 Closing Season. This Closing Season is divided into 3 zones of 4 teams each. (See latest standing below.) After a double round-robin in each group, the top 2 teams from each group go on together in a Round of 6 playoff; then it’s the semifinals, and the finals.

Coronavirus upon us
I do not know how many Belizeans have been paying keen attention to the world news about this novel coronavirus named COVID-19 that has been wreaking havoc in developed countries in Asia and Europe. This week, Italy went on lockdown as 168 persons infected with the virus died within 24 hours. The military has been guarding the streets and ensuring citizens remain indoors in compliance with the orders to stay inside their homes. In China, the little that came out through reports from the country indicated that there was mass quarantine of citizens to prevent the spread of the disease. One of the tragic reports from that country is about the collapse of a hotel housing persons plagued with the disease, resulting in casualties and serious injuries to both the sick and the health workers.

Language and body talk from the Senate meeting
At the Senate meeting on Tuesday, the brash AG Pere proclaimed to the world that he wasn’t a rude boy, and that got a mile-wide smile out of Senator Rocke. I don’t know if the AG and Rocke are church brothers, but I can tell you for sure that Pere is no Catholic. If he were, he would flog himself, no, soap his own mouth. Does Pere have respect for no one? When Senator Rocke started talking about the church bringing a different perspective, Senator Lizarraga pursed his lips to prevent himself from kossing, and he leaned backward and stretched until his shoulder blades almost met, must be to stop himself from punching the rails before him.

How to hero-up!
In the AMANDALA issue of February 28, this writer suggested to Hon. John Saldivar how he truly might or could, become a hero of the constituents that he represents. Admit failure; promise reform. Even the great George Price was not impeccable; he had his faults. He was not above using deceptive tricks, like having two phones on his desk — one connected, the other not. To get your immediate assistance he used No. 1. To trick you, he would use No. 2, but would actually put on a convincing show to make you believe he was helping.

The Ghost of George McKesey Still Haunts Us All!
Pinned down in a green and mahogany sofa set near the radio my father made from his own hands in our small but neatly arranged living room, the captivating voice of the Belizean storyteller, George McKesey, that Belizeans of the 1960s and 70s had come to know as the true theater of the mind, explodes in the best Kriol lingo. My being was so entertained by the Belizean folklore stories he told. McKesey takes the Belizean cultural mind deep down into the core of his imagination, pulling out traditional Belizean narratives passed down from one generation to the next with excellent comic relief that my mother would say makes you laugh “til yo wahn split yo side!”. He was exceptionally talented as a Belizean historian, entertainer, and broadcaster who displayed oral excellence in technique and delivery although he never even went beyond the primary school grade.

Jerome’s blues …
Jerome had been so deeply affected at witnessing what he believed had been a deliberate act on Jewel’s part to flaunt her admirer in his face that he had said the first thing that had come to his mind, randomly linking it with politics, since the man involved had been a politician, not even remembering afterwards what he had said. Jerome had headed for his office where he had locked himself in and, for the first time, activated the “do not disturb” button on his door.

From the Publisher
It is dangerous to generalize about ethnic groups, because you will always include inaccuracies in your generalizations. The reason there will always be inaccuracies in generalizations is because there are always exceptions to rules. The economy of Belize has been sinking for years, especially insofar as how that economy applies to roots Belizeans. The Prime Minister has been telling us, for years also, how well his tourism is doing, but the Harvest Caye move by Norwegian hurt Southside roots substantially, and now we are staring this coronavirus catastrophe in the face.

Coronavirus – a coming emergency: Romel Cuello
Dear Editor, The coronavirus is coming, or might be here already, and we do not even know it. Are we ready? Like a snowball in hell. Not even the USA’s healthcare system is as ready as it should be. Our healthcare system is worse, especially here in Orange Walk. Sometime around the Christmas season, my six-year-old granddaughter was having gastrointestinal problems and was howling with pain. We would usually take her to a private doctor, but unfortunately, none was available; imagine that, in Orange Walk Town.

The “normalization of deviance”
Dear Editor, I must express my most heartfelt condolences to the families of the four Belize Defence Force officers and soldiers who lost their lives tragically in last month’s crash. These officers and soldiers represented the best of the BDF, having taken on and excelled in the difficult field of military aviation.

The Caribbean’s first coronavirus death is recorded in Guyana
Guyana’s first confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has also turned out to be the first death in the Caribbean related to the disease. The Public Health Ministry confirmed that the 52-year-old woman who died at Georgetown Public Hospital yesterday, did have the virus, which is now responsible for more than 4,300 deaths across the globe.

The Reporter

Guatemala Reports First Case Of CoronaVirus (COVID-19)
Guatemala Reports First Case Of CoronaVirus (COVID-19) Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei today announced the first case of COVID-19 in Guatemala. According to Guatemalan media, the President was at an unrelated...

Coast Guard Soldier Shot In Punta Gorda
A man enlisted in the Belize Coast Guard was shot on Thursday night in Punta Gorda. Collin Ramirez, 28, was reportedly upstairs of Xion’s Den Bar around 10:30pm...

Major Protest By Farmers At Santander (Cayo)
There is a major situation underway near the Santander Main Gate in Valley of Peace in the Cayo District. Police were called to the area around 2:00 this morning where they found farmers in the process of blocking the road in protest.

LOVE FM

PG Mayor says they are closely monitoring the Prices of several items doe Price Gouging
The mayor of Punta Gorda, Toledo District, is leading the charge in cracking down on stores that are participating in price gouging. Several residents across the country have noted that many stores are hiking up the prices of sanitary products. Toledo Correspondent Paul Mahung spoke to the mayor, Ashton McKenzie, and filed this report.

Parenting Guide Training for coordinators across the country
The National Committee for Family and Children (NCFC) held training and sensitizing sessions for coordinators from municipalities across Belize as it relates to the Parenting Guide. The Parenting Guide, entitled The Art of Parenting, was launched two years ago.

Two Cruise lines suspend their services
Two cruise lines have suspended travel to Belize and other countries worldwide. The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation has confirmed that as a part of the attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines are suspending their global services for 30 days.

Band Fest 2020 postponed indefinitely
The highly anticipated Band Fest 2020 has been postponed indefinitely. The decision was made by the Band Fest Committee after a meeting. According to the Coordinator, Carmen Barrow, the decision was made due to the threat of COVID-19 affecting the world.

UNHCR opens two new classrooms
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) opened two classrooms at the National 4H Development Center in Belmopan and a computer center in Ontario Village, Cayo District. Correspondent Ken Francisco has the story.

BCCI and Orange Walk Town Council condemn price gouging
The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) is calling on businesses to refrain from effecting any price increases on the essential supplies during this time when the threat of COVID-19 is looming over the world. The price increases have been noted on items such as hand sanitizers, masks, and disinfectants.

MOH engages in community education for COVID-19
The Ministry of Health is engaged in educating the community about COVID-19. Officials on the ground are visiting schools and other locations to inform the public about the virus.

Nazarene expo 2020
Today, Nazarene High School in Belize City held its expo 2020. The expo, which is the second of its kind, saw the participation of many current students as well as alumni of the school. Reporter Naim Borges stopped by the expo and shared some highlights.

Farmers protest over land
Over one hundred farmers in Valley of Peace, Cayo District are protesting this morning over a land dispute with the Valley of Peace Farms Limited. Our Cayo Correspondent Fem Cruz has the story.

Belize Elementary and High School schedule to conduct online classes
Belize Elementary School (BES) and Belize High School (BHS) has announced that effective Wednesday, March 18, they will be shifting from the traditional classroom setting to online learning. The institutions have dubbed this project “Google Classroom” and will carry through with this form of learning up until April 3, 2020.

Facts About COVID-19
Information about the facts of COVID-19 is readily available for access by the public online and on other official health and news sources. For Belize, the Ministry of Health is responsible for keeping us informed.

MOH States How They Will Announce The First Case Of COVID-19
The Ministry of Health is mapping out a plan for when COVID-19 arrives in Belize. This plan includes how the announcement will be made when it is time.

Guatemala Has Its First Case Of Coronavirus
While Belize has been marked safe in terms of having no cases of COVID-19, our neighbor Guatemala has confirmed their first case. This announcement came hours after a conference where the Guatemalan president cited that...

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Police department warns that fabricating rumors is a crime
The Belize Police Department issued a release saying that it notes with great concern, the […]

Ministry of Health says no case of COVID-19; travelers arriving from affected countries will be quarantined
The Ministry of Health has completed another review of the COVID-19 plan with the different […]

Ministry of Natural Resources leads inspection team to resolve Valley of Peace land dispute
Today, the Valley of Peace Farmers Association accompanied by the Chairman of Valley of Peace […]

Government of Belize announces suspension of cruise ship calls
Late this evening, the Government of Belize officially announced that cruise ship calls to Belize are […]

Dr. Angel Cal joins Galen University
Dr. Angel Cal has been appointed as the Quality Assurance Officer (QAO) at Galen University. […]

Chamber of Commerce does not support price gouging
The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has called upon the business community to refrain […]

Belize Water Services encourages customers to use electronic means to conduct business
Belize Water Services says that as a part of preparations and preventative measures regarding COVID-19, […]

Unions host Black Friday Rally outside Port of Belize
The members of the Christian Workers Union (CWU), were joined by representatives from the National […]

Third Belize National Research Conference postponed
The Belize National Research Conference Organizing Committee informed that the conference originally scheduled for March […]

Ministry of Education: All schools remain open
The Ministry of Education has issued a public notice informing the public that up to […]

$2,000 reward being offered for information on murder of Carolyn Arnold
Carolyn Arnold, 63, was gruesomely murdered at the start of this week. Her body was […]

National Unity in fighting Coronavirus
By Delray Cuthkelvin: With this global crisis dubbed COVID-19 (A.K.A Coronavirus) testing the resolve of the most developed nations, and . imminent arrival here posing a daunting threat to a developing country like Belize […]

Coast Guard officer shot in Punta Gorda
Just before 11 o’clock last night an off-duty Coast Guard officer was shot in Punta […]

Valley of Peace farmers block road in protest
Picture: Courtesy Plus TV Belize This morning around 2:00 a.m. farmers from Valley of Peace […]

Punta Gorda Mayor issues notice to all store owners regarding hiking of prices
Punta Gorda Mayor, Ashton Mackenzie, issued a statement this morning warning all store owners about […]

Galen takes precautionary measures by implementing “live-online” classes
Galen University today informed that considering the COVID-19 pandemic, effective Monday, March 16, all face-to-face […]

Blogs

Countless ways to have delicious fun while exploring the Caribbean Shrimp Company
Located in Ladyville, just 20 minutes from Belize City and near the Philip Goldson International Airport on the Northern Highway, this 266-acre property offers a variety of activities, tours and delicious fresh shrimp served at their open-air restaurant perched above the surrounding shrimp ponds. With something for everybody, your visit can include a mangrove lagoon tour on their unique solar-powered boat. Explore the crocodile habitat they sponsor for the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary, where you’ll meet a few of the resident crocs. You can also learn more about their organic and holistic process of raising shrimp, enjoy watching the birds who are attracted to the shrimp ponds, swim and lounge at their new Lighthouse Bay saltwater pool or even engage your friends or family in some jungle paintball!

International Sourcesizz

The 7 Best Beach Resorts in Belize
Belize has many eco-resorts in its unspoiled rainforests — Chaa Creek and the Ka’Ana Resort, to name a couple of outstanding examples — but this Central American nation also has hundreds of miles of Caribbean coastline on its eastern border, as well as hotspots like Ambegris Caye and Caye Culker in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. And where there’s beach in Belize you’ll find beach resorts, from Belize City and San Pedro in the north to Hopkins and Placencia in the south.

EXCAVATION OF 3,400-YEAR-OLD BALLCOURT REWRITES THE ORIGIN OF AN ANCIENT, BRUTAL GAME
The history of sports may need to be rewritten: A new discovery disputes the origin story of the iconic, brutal and mysterious Mesoamerican ball game, played by ancient South and Central American civilizations from the Olmecs to the Aztecs. The remains of the newly-discovered ballcourt in Oaxaca, Mexico upend some common assumptions about the root of the game, which was once played in giant, open-air courts with a rubber ball across Mesoamerica. The court is dated at 3,400 years old — some 800 years older than any other ballcourt found thus far. The discovery suggests the game is far more ancient and far more popular across Mesoamerica than scientists realized.

Two-thousand-year-old monument reveals mysteries of Mayan writing
A 2,000-year-old stele discovered in southwestern Guatemala revealed signs of the birth of writing in the Mayan culture that dominated southern Mexico and part of Central America, experts said. Stele 87 was found in September 2018 in the Tak’alik Ab’aj archaeological park in the municipality of El Asintal, 125 km southwest of the capital. “It is an example of the genesis of Mayan writing”, German epigrapher Nikolai Grube said in a presentation. “The great importance of stele 87 is that it is an early example of the development of writing in Mesoamerica (…) Tak’alik Ab’aj was a place of experimentation with Mayan writing,” Grube said in a video conference from Mexico during an event at the National Palace in the Guatemalan capital.

Agents Say Caribbean Travel Thus Far COVID-19 Resistant
Top travel agents say Caribbean vacations remain popular even as COVID-19 cases emerged this week in a handful of destinations and hoteliers on one major island warned of coronavirus-driven cancellations. Several agents are positioning Caribbean islands as alternatives to COVID-19-impacted regions. “Depending on their interests or travel goals, we’ve tried to shift to similar experiences [by] moving multi-gen families from Tuscan estates to Caribbean villas, replacing a French Riviera stay for a St. Barth’s getaway and swapping Croatia island-hopping for yachting around the BVIs,” said Samantha Collum of River Oaks Travel Agency.

Videos

  • Dr Cuellar on the Pandy Show, 2min. Instruction about how and what you must do to handle the Coronavirus.

  • Norwegian Escape Cruise Harvest Caye Belize, 14min.

  • THE RENOVATIONS TO THE GOVERNMENT HOUSE PROPERTY, 2.5min. This month the Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project completed the rehabilitation of the Government House Property. The rehabilitation included the renovation of the Government House, the construction of the new House of Culture, the reconstruction of the Carriage House, installation of a new parking area, raising of the property between 6" to 18" in certain areas to fight climate change, improve the coastline to prevent further erosion, installation of new concrete pedestrian walkways throughout the property, rehabilitation of the stage, rehabilitation of the seven cannons / flag pole, rehabilitation of the perimeter fence and installation of identification location markers relating to flora, fauna, and historic information.

  • Channel 5 Obituaries - THOMAS JOSEPH DONOVAN, 1min.

  • Snorkeling with Blackhawk sailing in Belize off Caye Caulker, 3.5min. Hol Chan, Shark Alley, all the hotspots

  • Diving Movie Belize 2014. A collection of sea life, 19min. A selection of the best clips from a week in Belize with Chuck and Robbie's dive operation. They are, hands down, the best in the business. This video features Jim, Kristy, Dave and some of the Chuck and Robbie's crew: Big Sexy, George, Robbie, Bryan and Danny. Wildlife featured are: Loggerhead Turtle, Reef Sharks, Octopus, Moray Eels, Nurse Sharks, Lobster, Crab, Barrel Sponges, Hawksbill Turtles, Green Turtle, Eagle Rays, Southern Stingrays and assorted fish.

  • The Fresh Beard of Belize (Corona Nightmare Song), 2.5min.


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